THE WHITE HOUSE AT WORK
Wednesday, September 9, 1998
A QUALITY EDUCATION FOR ALL
Today, the Department of Education is releasing a report that shows that while we are making progress, students in high-poverty areas continue to lag behind their more-advantaged peers in 4th-grade reading and math. In high-poverty schools, fewer than half of all 4th graders are scoring at least at the basic level in math. We cannot go strong into the 21st century if any of our children graduate without being able to read. We cannot go strong into the 21st century if any of our children are ill-prepared for the high-tech jobs of the future. We cannot go strong into the 21st century if the promise of America is an illusion to any one of our children.
President Bill Clinton
September 9, 1998
Today, President Clinton travels to Orlando, Florida where he will call on Congress to act immediately to pass his education initiatives to strengthen public education. The President will also announce the release of a Department of Education report on reading and math scores for 4th graders in high poverty areas and federal school safety grants that will enable schools to partner with law enforcement officers to improve safety and discipline in schools.
Providing Schools With The Tools Needed For Children To Meet Higher Standards. President Clinton is urging Congress to pass an education agenda to help all children reach their potential. The President is calling for:
- Voluntary National Standards and Tests in 4th grade reading and 8th grade math to help students master basic skills;
- Education Opportunity Zones to strengthen schools in high poverty communities by providing funds to school districts that raise student achievement by ending social promotion, rewarding outstanding teachers and turning around failing schools;
- Reducing Class Sizes to a national average of 18 students in grades 1-3 and hiring 100,000 new teachers;
- A Child Literacy Bill to help ensure that every eight-year old can read and all children can receive quality instruction;
- Strengthening and Expanding Charter Schools;
- Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, including his initiative to strengthen teacher preparation programs and recruitment of good teachers for underserved, high-poverty schools;
- Modernizing Our Schools through federal tax credits to help renovate, modernize and build over 5,000 schools nationwide;
- Extra Support for Students in High Poverty Areas so roughly 520,000 more students in high-poverty areas can meet challenging academic standards.
Narrowing The Gap Between Students In High-Poverty And Low-Poverty Areas. The President will announce that the Department of Education today released a report on how students in high-poverty schools perform on the 4th grade math and reading National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) tests. The report shows that:
- The percentage of 4th graders in high-poverty schools that scored at least at the basic level in math increased from 26 to 42 percent between 1992 and 1996, but reading scores among these children remained flat between 1992 and 1994;
- In 1996, students in high-poverty areas scored an average of 22 points lower than their peers in low-poverty schools in math, down from 28 points in 1992, and 24 points in 1994;
- In 1996, students in high-poverty areas scored an average of 38 points lower than their peers in low-poverty schools in reading, down from 40 points in both 1992 and 1994.
Leading The Effort To Keep Our Schools Safe. The President also announces the release by the Department of Justice COPS Office of grants to 155 law enforcement agencies under the new School-Based Partnership grant program. The School-Based Partnership grants will be used by policing agencies to work with schools and community-based organizations to address crime at and around schools and will help forge or strengthen partnerships between local law enforcement and schools to focus on school crime and disorder problems such as drug dealing and use, assaults, threats, vandalism, and other student safety issues.